A black woman is claiming she was asked to give up her seat for a white man and refused service at J. Alexander’s Michigan restaurant.
What We Know:
- Lia Gant said she was at J. Alexander’s restaurant when a white bartender asked Gant and her friend to give their bar seats to two white men. The bartender then poured Gant’s drink down the sink when she refused to move, though she ended up paying for the drink.
- Jerrick Jackson claims he was called the N-word by a patron after he complained about poor service at the restaurant the same night in an unrelated event. The patron threw food at Jackson and nearly struck Gant’s friend; an encounter Gant caught on film and later posted to Facebook.
- Once the police arrived, Gant claims employees at the restaurant refused to identify the patron who had accosted Jackson and thrown the food. While they “protected” the patron by allowing him to exit out the back, Gant said they pushed her outside the restaurant to police.
- Gant and Jackson told their story in a press conference on Monday, June 24, four days after the incident occurred. They were accompanied by their lawyer, Maurice Davis. They explained that though the manager had initially apologized to Gant for the bartender and offered to pay for her meal, she later told Gant she should be glad the drink was poured down the sink, not on her, and that there are two sides to every story.
- The restaurant released a statement claiming Gant and Jackson’s allegations are false, evidenced by security footage that shows Gant was never asked to leave her seat. The restaurant claims Gant was asked to give up a seat she had been saving for her friend, which is not allowed in the pub area.
- Alexander’s restaurant also claims the patron who threw food was escorted out the front door, not the back door. They have given surveillance footage to the police who will investigate the incident.
Gant and Jackson’s lawyer likened the event at J. Alexander’s restaurant to the racism of the 1950s that consistently denied public service to black citizens.